the cosy cinema
The old Drill Hall, a corrugated metal building (highlighted on the left in the image above) was at the southern end of Straw Street, stood in confines of the Brickground Hotel.
Mr. F. W. Kirby took over as proprietor and manager in the late 1920’s, running the cinema with only one projector, so the patrons had to wait for a reel to be changed.
The cinema closed for a time, until a Mr Jackson took over. Jackson would run a raffle on Friday nights, one man remembers his father winning a joint of meat. Unfortunately the cinema had to close again but re-opened as ‘the Premiere’ in the 1930’s by Mr. A. H. Street, of 4 The Gardens, Arlesey Road, Stotfold. Street had two projectors, using Morrison sound equipment, and a slide projector. During this period the film ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ was shown. Three Counties Bus Companies were entrusted with carrying the new films to Arlesey. The cinema opened nightly, and three times on a Saturday, but still did not pay – so it had to close again.
Around 1935, the cinema was taken over by The Talking Picture Company of Kings Lyn, Norfolk. They redecorated the cinema, put in a sloping floor and curtained the stage, which was illuminated by coloured lights. The projection room was remodelled for new sound equipment to show once nightly during the week and twice on Saturdays. Seats cost from 6d to 1s.3d. The company booked the films in Kings Lyn and arranged road transport to Arlesey. Their first manager was a Mr. B. Plum from Heacham in Norfolk, he was succeeded by Frank Bryant, Frank Saunders and finally Mrs. E. Dalton of Arlesey.
The Cosy Cinema Company of Buntingford bought the cinema and ran it until it had to close again in about 1958. The iron built building was owned by Charles Wells Brewery, and shook when trains passed on the nearby railway. 160 patrons could be seated at one time.
In 1949 neighbouring householders were complaining of noisy machinery, housed in an extension built onto a brick wall only three feet away from their houses and preventing their children from sleeping soundly.
Mr E. G. Randall of Potton tried to re-open the cinema by running performances for children, but it finally closed in June 1962. The building has since been used by a local builder who rented it from the brewery. It was also used by a small firm producing wrought iron work.
The Cosy was demolished and used as a car park for the Brickground in 1983. The Brickground later became the Mallard and is now the Acre Woods Day Nursery in Hospital Road.
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